I met with Derek last week to talk over my results on the EQi, the Emotional Quotient Inventory. As a proctor, he helped me make sense of my scores, and where I had peaks and valleys in my emotional intelligence.
One issue that surfaced three times in our conversation was time. He noticed I feel extremely urgent about time. I hate wasting time. I despise taking time to do things I feel are unnecessary. And I can’t stand wading through red tape to accomplish something that should be relatively simple. I am not necessarily proud of this. I think I need to lighten up a bit. When Derek asked me why this was, I reflected for a moment. I have felt an urgency about my life ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1980. I was told at the time that the average person lives twenty years after their diagnosis. While I celebrate the fact that I have outlived that statistic, I am very aware of the sands of time slipping through my hourglass. I believe its true: Time is more valuable than money. I can always get more money, but I can never get more time.
It has been said, “All stewardship is a stewardship of time.” I believe for leaders, the stewardship of time increases results, and results often increase the leader’s ability to positively influence situations. I’ve found, on good weeks, that time can be my most valuable employee. I can get time to work hard and efficiently for me if I manage it well. So, while this has been discussed a thousand times before, here are some tips to putting time to work for you:
1. Block your time.
If you have a variety of activities to accomplish in your day, like counseling a student, planning an event, meeting with a colleague, or administrative duties, put your tasks in blocks. Try to place all people work adjacent to each other, and all administrative work in a block as well. This increases momentum.
2. Don’t leave activities open ended.
I discovered a reality in the 1990s. Meetings, for instance, always take as long as we give them. If you block an hour to meet about the budget, it will take the entire hour. Do your best to start on time and plan an end time to all meetings and tasks.
3. Schedule you priorities.
I talk about this in two of our Habitudes®: Opportunity Statue and Big Rocks First. The issue in our day is not prioritizing our schedules, but rather scheduling our priorities. I must put important tasks in my calendar way ahead of time when it is still blank — or they will get displaced by little jobs squeaking for my attention.
Let’s talk about this. Anything you’d add to this list that helps you put time to work?